'PUT SAND IN THE MACHINES!' - Of volcanoes and resistance

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Wellclose Square
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Apr 17 2010 10:19
'PUT SAND IN THE MACHINES!' - Of volcanoes and resistance

Seeing as there's been little comment about one of the most intriguing events of the moment (well more intriguing than the election), I thought I'd add a few remarks about the apparent confluence between the human desire to put a spanner in the works and the little volcanic event emanating from Iceland.

I'm currently reading Alone in Berlin, the fictionalised story of a working class Berlin couple who resolve to undermine the Nazi regime after their soldier son is killed in the invasion of France. They proceed to write postcards, depositing them randomly in the stairwells of apartment blocks for others to read. The text of one goes:

'PASS THIS CARD ON, SO THAT MANY PEOPLE READ IT! - DON'T GIVE TO THE WINTER RELIEF FUND! - WORK AS SLOWLY AS YOU CAN! - PUT SAND IN THE MACHINES! - EVERY STROKE OF WORK NOT DONE WILL SHORTEN THE WAR!'

How gratifying to see nature's contribution to slowing down the cogs and wheels of capitalism (and, no, I'm not suggesting a conscious Gaia's participation in the struggle for planetary human liberation), with its particles of rock and glass ('volcanic ash') grounding fleets of airliners round large parts of the northern hemisphere. (My sympathies to those having their holidays ruined, though).

Edit: Of course I don't welcome the respiratory difficulties caused when the dust cloud settles, any more than it was all right for millions to die prior to 1914 in 'ascendant' capitalism in order to create the conditions for communism. As for '(other than) human agency', the Daily Mirror today has anthropomorphised the volcano as a 'Vilecano' (it's evil!) that 'looks like a face from a horror film'.

JR Cash
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Apr 17 2010 13:54
Wellclose Square wrote:
How gratifying to see nature's contribution to slowing down the cogs and wheels of capitalism (and, no, I'm not suggesting a conscious Gaia's participation in the struggle for planetary human liberation), with its particles of rock and glass ('volcanic ash') grounding fleets of airliners round large parts of the northern hemisphere. (My sympathies to those having their holidays ruined, though).

Stuck in New York on my way back from Chicago to Belfast. Even when flight ban is lifted it could be a week before we get home as flights are all booked up for a week.

Why do you say it's gratifying to see? Surely an example of the failure of capitalism to accommodate the balance between the needs of human society and the natural world around us.

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LeftResistance
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Apr 17 2010 15:29

Pretty sure socialism wouldn't anticipate volcanoes either! Unless socialism releases psychic abilities of humans, which would be sweet as dood.

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Tojiah
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Apr 17 2010 16:51

On the contrary. It is in fact the action of the neo-liberal conspiracy, as admitted by Rush Limbaugh.

Boris Badenov
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Apr 17 2010 17:14
weeler wrote:
What part of a volcano fucking up peoples day to day lives is slowing down the cogs of capitalism?

oh so you're all for supporting striking BA workers, but when a volcano stands up for its rights, "people's lives" are "ruined" all of a sudden. Typical.

Wellclose Square
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Apr 17 2010 22:34

Vlad336 wrote

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oh so you're all for supporting striking BA workers, but when a volcano stands up for its rights, "people's lives" are "ruined" all of a sudden. Typical.

Fair comment.
Weeler wrote

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Its not adding militancy to the working class, you may as well praise the earthquake in Haiti for toppling the state, if you want to make an ass of yourself.

Again, fair comment.

The snow back in January caused a lot of inconvenience, as well as days off (paid and unpaid), and a bit of fun/adventure for many, death for some - not a matter of celebration, but a fact of life with some pluses and minuses. Some events are unequivocably bad - the Haiti earthquake being one - and I never sought to draw an equivalence, any more than someone who enjoyed the days off because of the snow is in favour of fatal avalanches.

The fact is, a lot of people are talking about the volcano and its effects, for better or worse, and it struck me as odd that it hasn't warranted a comment on these boards - presumably some may have hesitated about precipitating a shitstorm. I don't remember a time like this since the fuel protests of ten years ago, when the roads went deathly quiet, and became safer. Many people I come across have a similar feeling about the volcanic situation, and I bet a lot of people living under the Heathrow flightpath (I have the opinion of at least one, anyway) must be really happy. Yes, so I made a 'random' (in the modern sense) comparison between 'seismic sabotage' and humanly engineered sabotage directed towards liberation (the latter always,always preferable), but I think the volcano and the thoughts and feelings it has evoked among people seeing the 'daily grind' - in both its positive and negative forms - disrupted, is worthy of some sort of comment.

I have to say, some of the responses here wouldn't be out of place in the Daily Mail - LET'S GET BRITAIN WORKING!

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waslax
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Apr 18 2010 06:14

Setting aside any pain, suffering, deprivation or worse that any 'innocent' people may experience from what causes it, any disruption to the daily grind, to the smooth operation of the system of exploitation and domination, is cause for celebration, as far as I'm concerned, even if doesn't it add any militancy to the working class. It should at least offer an opportunity for reflection and consideration, perhaps even discussion with others, about possibilities opened up by such disruption, about other ways that it could happen, and about what it might take to do it with the least amount of risk, etc.

Wellclose Square
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Apr 18 2010 11:52

Totally agree with waslax's post above. However, I'm reflecting on the ordeal of my partner's niece who's stranded in Egypt at the moment...

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arminius
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Apr 18 2010 16:24

I suppose that it could boil down to the fact that "Routine" belongs to this system and those whom it serves. A break in that routine, at least potentially, *could* (but neither necessarily nor usually) lead to something 'else'.

crwydryny
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Apr 21 2010 10:30

what I find odd is that the airports can't fly people in but appariently they can fly flowers from amsterdam to tesco (at least from what I've been told)